5 Lessons from Million-Dollar, One-Person Business Owners

Over the last 12 months Elaine has interviewed many founders of lean seven-figure companies – including some people who I’ve known from the fitness niche and the email marketing scene.

After my original interview with Elaine for Forbes she let me know she was working on a book that would be out more than a year later. Fortunately she and I stayed in touch and she sent me a copy last week!

Because CLVboost readers are mostly online business owners and digital marketers, I made a note to call Elaine myself and ask her for some of the common traits and habits of seven-figure one-person online companies. Here were her thoughts:

  1. Conscious Focus on Efficiency: The founders in the book were eager to make the most of their effort, not simply to “work”, but to simplify processes and get as much done as possible with automation, outsourcing, and contractors (indeed, Elaine’s book is full of examples of how bootstrapped companies used all three). This was a deliberate effort.
  2. Getting Out of the Fray / Thinking Big Picture: Some founders meditate, others practiced martial arts – all of them seemed to have a priority for clearing their mind that they could refresh their thoughts, and also leave the fray of “doing” to think about their business in a big picture way.
  3. Balance and Routine: Many of the founders in the book were in the health and fitness field, so this may have skewed the facts a bit, but Elaine found that
  4. Have a Coach: Elaine’s guests aren’t afraid to have a coach. Sometimes this was a paid professional who’s “been there, done that”, other times it was just a mentor in the industry. Either way, Elaine’s founders often had someone coaching them actively to improve and get to the next level in their business – opening them up to new ideas and helping them avoid old mistakes. This requires the maturity of founders to put their ego aside and listen.
  5. Constantly Learning: Elaine told me that her interviewees were often very avid readers. Authors that came up a lot for her included Ryan Holiday, Tim Ferriss, and Verne Harnish (the latter of which I read myself, as I often highly recommend Verne’s “Scaling Up”). Founders also listened to many audiobooks, and frequently used podcasts to “stay current” on their industry or area of expertise. They have a hunger for new ideas and ways to improve – not just continue with “the grind.”

I’m grateful to have my Science of Skill and TechEmergence story make it’s way to other budding founders who might find it helpful – and it was fun to read the stories of other founders who went through the same lean and mean beginnings to cross a million dollars in revenue.

Check out Elaine’s book here.

Until next time,

– Daniel Faggella

PS: Readers of this post might be interested in Elaine’s long article on Tim Ferriss’s blog, featuring some “best of” snippets from the book itself.